Awards and Recognitions



With a long-standing history of caring for the community, Meritus Health relentlessly pursues excellence to improve the health status of the region. Meritus Health constantly improves its health care quality and patient satisfaction while ensuring high quality standards. Meritus Health’s success is recognized by many awards from the national, regional, and state organizations listed below.

Hospital Awards

Meritus Medical Center has been named Best Hospital in the VerStandig Media Best of the Tristate 2022.

The announcement comes after more than two years of never-before-seen challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members of the Meritus family have been working diligently and with precise expertise to be there for their community during this unprecedented time.

"The past two years have been full of unprecedented challenges for all of us. Our dedicated healthcare heroes have been there in many ways for this community so earning our community’s votes means so much to us,” said President and CEO, Dr. Maulik Joshi. “We continue to do all we can to provide the very best in care, and are so proud to work for and with this community. We are so proud to be voted Best Hospital by the tri-state region.”

Meritus is honored to be able to provide the best care in our region to our patients and their families.​

  • Best Urgent Care: Meritus Urgent Care
  • Best Cardiologist: Dr. Jeffrey Jones
  • Best Cardiology Practice: Meritus Hagerstown Heart
  • Best Nurse: Melanie Starr
  • Best Nurse: Karlie Mundey
  • Best Plastic Surgeon: Dr. Salvatore DiMercurio
  • Best Physical Therapist: Heidi Smith, MSPT
  • Best Pediatrician: Dr. Anand Budi

Meritus Medical Center received an “A” Hospital Safety Grade from The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit upholding the standard of patient safety in hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers. This national distinction celebrates Meritus’ achievements in prioritizing patient safety by protecting patients from preventable harm and errors. The new grades reflect performance primarily during the height of the pandemic.

"This top-quality rating is a testament to the dedication of our Meritus teams who are continuously working to improve quality and patient safety,” said Carrie Adams, Pharm.D., Chief Operating Officer.

“Our hospital has a goal of zero harm and we work hard each day to create the culture of safety needed to support our patients. Caring for our neighbors is an absolute privilege and ensuring that care is provided in a safe and healing environment is a top priority. Thank you all for being an ‘A’ each day,” Adams said.

The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization, assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D” or “F” grade to general hospitals across the country based on over 30 national performance measures reflecting errors, accidents, injuries and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm. 

“This new update of Hospital Safety Grades shows that, at the national level, we saw deterioration in patient safety with the pandemic,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “But this hospital received an ‘A’ despite those challenges. I congratulate all the leaders, staff, volunteers and clinicians who together made that possible.”

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harm to patients. The grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Grades are updated twice annually, in the fall and spring.

Meritus Health was named the 2022 Employer of the Year during the 68th Annual Power of Work Awards presented by Horizon Goodwill Industries, Inc.

“The partnership we have with Horizon Goodwill is one that benefits the community as a whole. We are two community-focused organizations and have many of the same goals, so it was a natural fit,” said Dave Lehr, chief strategy officer.

In a workforce development initiative, the two organizations partnered, along with Maryland Physicians Care, to launch the Pathway to Healthcare Careers program in fall 2022.

The program has proven success, with applicants who were hired in the fall obtaining a retention bonus of $500 in April. Additionally, all of the team members hired through the Pathway to Healthcare program were impacted when Meritus raised its minimum wage to $17/hour.

“We are working together to find positions to suit the skills of some of the clients at Goodwill,” Lehr said. “We’ve hired food and nutrition aids, environmental services workers, receptionists and more,” he added.

The team members are provided great benefits and pay, while gaining access to career advancement opportunities. Goodwill provides transportation when needed, and support to ensure the team members have a good work- and home-life.

“We’re honored to receive this award from Horizon Goodwill, but we’re even more honored to be able to share the outcomes of our initiatives that demonstrate not only the power of work, but the power of working together,” Lehr said.

DAISY Awards

The DAISY Foundation was established in 1999 by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died of complications of the auto-immune disease Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) at the age of 33. (DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System.) During Pat’s eight week hospitalization, his family was awestruck by the care and compassion his nurses provided not only to Pat but to everyone in his family. One of the goals they set in creating a foundation in Pat’s memory was to recognize extraordinary nurses everywhere who make an enormous difference in the lives of so many people by the super-human work they do every day.

What is The DAISY Award?

The DAISY Award is an international program that rewards and celebrates the extraordinary clinical skill and compassionate care given by nurses every day. Meritus Health is proud to be a DAISY Award Partner, recognizing one of our nurses monthly with this special honor. To find out more about the program, including the growing list of Partners, please visit DAISYfoundation.org.

What is The DAISY Team Award?

The DAISY Team Award is designed to honor collaboration by two or more people, led by a nurse, who identify and meet patient and/or patient family needs by going above and beyond the traditional role of Nursing. The team award is presented each May, but nominations are received throughout the year.

Nominate a team of 2 or more people led by a nurse for the Daisy Team Award by clicking the link below.

Nominate for the DAISY Award by clicking here.

July 2023 - Serina Gbaba

Serina was awesome. She was very patient, and was always explaining what she was doing. She was willing to step right in and help feed my grandmother if she needed assistance. Both of my grandparents were admitted a few days apart, and were actually placed right next to each other on the floor. When they had to move my grandmother, Serina brought her in the room with my grandfather and allowed them to see and talk to each other for a while. This really was above and beyond, and put them both at ease that everything was going to be alright. Serina deserves this award! Nominated by a patient’s family.

June 2023 - Samantha Hewitt

There is nothing but exceptional things my family and I can say about Sam. She is an amazing nurse, and was our father’s nurse when he was taken to Meritus with symptoms of a stroke. (We found out later he did have a stroke.) Through that heart-wrenching experience, Sam took amazing care of our dad, and did everything she could to help him, all while assisting us with our questions, concerns and emotional breakdowns! We really believe he would not be where he is now, in the recovery process, without her! She deserves so much praise! We wish we could show her how much she really touched all of us! – Nominated by a patient’s family.

May 2023 - Chiara Banca

Nominated by a co-worker: Earlier this year, 4 East was asked to take a pediatric psych patient (far outside the scope of our department) but we did. Chiara was the patient’s nurse, they quickly formed a bond. He talked freely with her; even his outbursts were less aggressive and more easily calmed. The family came to me and expressed gratitude for Chiara’s care, and kindness for their son. She planned to reward his improving behavior, and we worked together to bring him to the cafeteria for ice cream and outside for some exercise. While 4 East did an amazing job as a whole, Chiara had this patient for many days. The family even brought him back to personally thank Chiara. Again, 4 East is not a psychiatric floor or a peds floor, but Chiara did a great job. 

April 2023 - Valerie Rinehart, RN

Nominated by a patient's family: "You don’t know how much of a help Valerie is. She is fantastic, and reduced the strain we were under. I was in tears with worry and so overwhelmed with how we would manage all the equipment at home, along with getting used to a new colostomy. Valerie took the extra time to explain how everything would work. If I called with a question and she wasn’t available, she always called back and provided the answer. When getting treatment elsewhere, we felt like we got the run-around, but not here. You do not often find people who understand your situation like Valerie did."

March 2023 - Kendra Byard, B.S.N., RN

Nominated by a co-worker: "Kendra was caring for an overflow patient in PACU. The patient was anxious, probably frightened, a bundle of nervous energy, and in perpetual motion. His condition and medical history made pain management difficult, but Kendra expertly managed his medications, reducing his pain and fashioned a pillow to make him more comfortable. She provided him with her personal Kindle to use a distraction from his situation and provided empathy and nonjudgmental care. She went above and beyond in assisting him when his wife called experiencing her own medical emergency and provided instruction and support to the patient. The next day, she saw the patient in the cafeteria and inquired how he, and his wife, were doing. Kendra even made him another pillow and provided him with the phone number to Home Health to make sure he was able to continue his care as an outpatient."

February 2023 - Courtney Caplinger, RN

Nominated by a patient's family: "My 11-year-old son came into Meritus Medical Center for outpatient dental surgery. He has severe ADHD & autism. That morning his emotions were through the roof. He wasn’t talking much or making any eye contact. Courtney came into our room to ask if she could start an IV. I told her he would never let her! Once, his doctor had to chase him around to try to administer a shot. She started to talk to my son with compassion. She explained to him what she was going to do with step-by-step details. She then asked permission to begin. I couldn’t believe it, but my son let her start his IV! She then brought over a stuffed dinosaur that had a mask and an IV taped around its arm just like his. Courtney was so kind, sweet, caring, and extremely patient with my son. I am still not sure how she convinced him to let her do something he’s never let another medical person do, ever. In our eyes, she has super-human powers, and shines bright like a ray of sunshine! We will forever be grateful for Courtney and cannot thank her enough. We feel she went above and beyond and deserves to be recognized as a Daisy nurse. P.S. He still has his dinosaur on his bed."

January 2023 - Emmy Burgan, RN

Nominated by a patient's family: "My grandmother was recently hospitalized, and Emmy was one of her nurses. Emmy went above and beyond when advocating for my grandmother, listening to our concerns and working with the care team to ensure the best possible outcome. Emmy was patient and caring – you can tell that she cares deeply about her patients. She even stayed two hours past her shift to ensure my grandmother was okay and that the next shift was well informed. Thank you!"

December 2022 - Carley Cline, RN

Nominated by a co-worker: "I recently experienced the worst two shifts in the three years that I have worked here. My module was extremely heavy and Carley was the charge nurse. I was all over the place and had a patient who was very critical. Carley kept me sane and she was by my side all day helping me with my workload and ensuring it was going to be ok. I needed to be by this patient’s side, so Carley assisted with other patients needs for me. I truly don’t know what I would have done if she wasn’t the charge nurse that weekend. I cannot thank her enough as she went above and beyond for me that weekend!"

November 2022 - Brianna Maddox, B.S.N., RN

Nominated by a patient's family: "If not for Brianna, my husband would be in very serious trouble. Brianna listened to his lungs, recognized a problem, and told us to get to lung specialist ASAP. By the next day, my husband was in hospital being seen by a surgeon who got him back on the road to recovery! Brianna is a life saver for catching this."

October 2022 - Raquel Amaya, B.S.N., RN

Nominated by a co-worker: "Raquel is the staple behind the compassionate, hardworking unit on 4 East. She is the 2022 Florence Nightingale. Raquel would drown in her work to help every other nurse on the unit. She is the nurse I strive to be. She is a positive person even in hard situations. Raquel helped me through the emotions of my first code and texted me a couple of days later to make sure I was all right. She not only educates and supports her patients but also the staff. I hope one day I can be as good of a nurse as her, who is willing to intervene and make quick judgements that save patients’ lives."

September 2022 - Haley Siefers, RN

Nominated by a patient's family: "My husband was in the hospital for three days recuperating from a spinal fusion. All the nurses in 3 East were great, but Haley stood out and we will certainly always remember her. First of all, Haley showed a genuine interest in us as people. I know patients don’t always show their best side to nurses. It takes a special gift to help patients feel like they are still worthwhile people, even when they don’t look, sound, or smell their best. She has that gift. Secondly, Haley taught us things we needed to know, especially upon my husband’s discharge. It was a little scary for me to realize I would need to be his nurse at home when I had no idea what level of care he might need, but she helped me understand what I would need to do. Haley told us she had thought about being a teacher before changing her mind and became a nurse. Let me assure you that she is both. A nurse who teaches patients and their families what to expect. This makes them feel more at ease as they face an unknown future beyond the hospital doors. We wish her all the best as she continues on her chosen career path. No matter where her work may take her, she will always brighten the place while practicing her many skills."

August 2022 - Ronald Ahalt, B.S.N., RN, CPN

Nominated by a patient: "Recently, I was rushed to the Emergency Room where the staff worked quickly to get me stabilized and admitted. Once I reached the fourth floor I was treated with excellent care by the entire team. After a few days I was transferred to the second floor during the shift change. All the staff worked together to get me settled into my room. Early the next morning I had one of the worst anxiety attacks I have ever experienced. Ron came in and immediately started to talk to me in a soft but firm tone, which is what I required to get me turned around. His actions meant more to me than anyone can truly realize. I have found that very few people have the talent for this sort of thing, but Ron was a natural. This was the first time I had been hospitalized since 1976 and it was very scary. So, from this 69-year-old grannie - I say thank you and well done!"

July 2022 - Hannah Cole, B.S.N., RN

Nominated by a co-worker: "Hannah responded to a Rapid Response Team (RRT) call on our floor for an unwitnessed fall, and the situation quickly turned grim. The patient's blood pressure dropped, and heart rate increased due to a GI bleed. Hannah immediately called Dr. Kantra to help. I believe without her quick assessment skills and quick interventions; our patient would have coded in front of us. I’m proud to be a part of Meritus Medical Center, because of nurses like her. I’m so proud of her and her accomplishments. Nurses like Hannah are an inspiration to me. She stayed calm throughout the RRT and guided us through what needed to be done. She also helped transfer the patient to Critical Care. I want her to be acknowledged and recognized for her heroism. I’m sure that she is probably used to this type of situation, but I am not, and I want to thank her for everything she did."

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